Last week, we studied chapter 3. We saw that the season and time for everything under the sun was a picture of the rhythm of life (Eccl. 3:1-8). God has appointed the times, and it is not for us to know exactly what they are (Act. 1:7). The times and seasons of the world are in God's hands. Even our own individual times are in his hands (Psalm 31:14-15). Isn't that a comforting truth?
In the context of this rhythm of life, God has given to the children of man business to be busy with (Eccl. 3:10). He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has put eternity into man's heart, although man does not have the capacity to grasp eternity from the beginning to the end (Eccl. 3:11). The Preacher concludes:
I perceived that there is nothing better for them to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil -- this is God's gift to man.God gives us work to do. He provides us with our vocations. We can't see into the future, but we can see right now, and we can see what he has given us to do. This work is a gift. And notice that we're to do more than enjoy things of our own; we're to do good as well.
How often to we look ahead, and wish we had something other than what we have right now? Do we look at jobs and tasks as nothing more than stepping stones to something better? Does the cry of the world cause us to feel discontent? The world tells us we should always be looking for that something better, that something bigger, but that is not God talking. God simply wants us to work the work he has set before us to his honour and glory. Do we often forget that the work, mundane as it may be, as ordinary as it may be, is a gift from God?
In recent weeks, nothing has given me more satisfaction and more comfort than the ordinary things in my life: cooking for my visiting children, a walk with my husband, a day of sunshine to clean the windows, reading the Psalms on the deck while the sun is coming up, hanging clothes on the clothes line. I'm thankful that God has drawn my attention to these things, these ordinary things. I'm especially thankful for the ladies he's given me to teach week by week. This is what God has appointed for me right now. It's his gift to me. Is there anything better?
Let us all treasure the gift of what God has given to do as readily as we treasure every other gift he gives us.